Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) renowned poet, actress, social
commentator, comedienne, folklorist and singer was a beloved Jamaican who for
over 50 years made significant contributions to Jamaican theatre, music, culture
and literature. Louise Bennett was born on Sunday, September 7 1919 at 40 North
Street in Kingston to parents Augustus Cornelius Bennett a baker and Kerene
Robinson, a dressmaker. She attended St. Simon’s College, Excelsior High School
in Kingston and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England on a British
She was described in a tribute written by Corina Meeks for the Public Relations Society of Jamaica in March 30 1987 thusly: From time to time in the history of a nation there emerges someone on the national scene who seems to embody the very psyche of its people; capable of distilling, interpreting and expressing its collective wisdom , its hopes and its aspirations, its strengths as well as its weaknesses. In Jamaica Louise Bennett is such a person. (Vertical files, National Library of Jamaica).
Louise Bennett’s many awards include OM (Order of Merit), M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire), Hon. D. Litt. from the University of the West Indies, silver and gold Musgrave medals from the Institute of Jamaica and the Norman Manley Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Louise Bennett married Eric Coverley in 1954 and they raised many children including her stepson, Fabian Coverley and adopted daughters Christine, Althea, Odette and Simone. Miss Lou died in Toronto, Canada on July 26, 2006. She was buried on August 9, 2006 in the National Heroes’ Park, Kingston alongside the reinterred remains of her husband.
The Miss Lou archives, MS2177 is housed in the Special Collections at the National Library of Jamaica. The intellectual property rights to the works of the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley rest with her estate. Permission to copy, distribute, perform, broadcast, make adaptations or in any way utilise her works must be made with her estate through the National Library of Jamaica.
Researchers may also access additional resources at McMaster University, Canada.
The collection is organized into 10 main series which are further divided into sub-series.
The series and sub-series are as follows:
This series contains personal and professional correspondences which relate to Louise Bennett and Eric Coverley. All letters to/from Louise Bennett-Coverley (LB) and Eric Coverley (EC) jointly are found here.
This series contains documents that are related to Louise Bennett and her husband's work, property, births, deaths, and marriage.
This series contains prose, poetry, songs and other genres as well as research material, some related correspondence and papers, and material by other writers.
This series contains material by and about Louise Bennett-Coverley, theatre programmes as well as some material about Jamaica.
This series contains Louise Bennett-Coverley’s resumes, interviews with and writing her, notebooks, awards, related correspondence, and other material.
This series contains academic papers, and documents relating to information about Jamaica.
This series contains three items: a filing cabinet, plaque and a purse.
This series contains photographs, negatives, audio and video tapes collected by and related to Louise Bennett-Coverley, Eric Coverley.
Eric Coverley was a famous draughtsman and calligrapher. This series contains professional and personal correspondence related to his work, business and other matters.
This series contains pamphlets, books and serials used by and given to Eric and Louise Coverely at various times throughout her life.